Inside Bush v. Gore

Charley Wells

Foreword by David Colburn and Susan MacManus
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"The Bush v. Gore legal challenge constituted the perfect political and legal storm. Thankfully, Charley Wells sheds his black robe to give readers an easy-to-read, insider’s account of the personalities, politics, and legal concerns involved in that landmark case."--Robert Watson, author of Counting Votes

"Chief Justice Wells has written a riveting inside account of the Florida Supreme Court’s actions during the disputed 2000 presidential election. A must-read for students of the Bush v. Gore fiasco."--Richard L. Hasen, author of The Voting Wars

"A must-read for jurists, political scientists, historians, and others interested in understanding how the Florida Supreme Court reached its decisions in the disputed 2000 presidential election."--Lance deHaven-Smith, author of Government in the Sunshine State

Hanging chads. Butterfly ballots. Unruly demonstrations across the country. A state capital occupied by the national press corps. For thirty-six excruciating days in late 2000, a nation held its breath while the seven justices of the Florida Supreme Court debated the outcome of the presidential election in Florida behind closed doors. The events that transpired within the justices’ chambers--their arguments, exhortations, and appeals to one another--have remained a mystery … until now.

Inside Bush v. Gore presents the unique, candid, and compelling perspective of the Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice who stood at the center of the storm. Charley Wells, a strong dissenting voice in the court’s 4–3 decision that mandated a statewide manual recount, gives an unprecedented play-by-play of those tumultuous days. Not only is his legal analysis of Bush v. Gore at the state and federal levels invaluable, but he also offers an insider’s view of judicial relationships, the frustrations of ambiguous election laws, the difficulties in separating the legalities from the politics, and the unsung yet critical role played by state court professionals.

Ultimately Inside Bush v. Gore is a story about the transfer of power in a country that prides itself on the democratic process of electing its leaders and the ability of the court system to justly and fairly resolve disputes. With the advantage of hindsight and the perspective gained by reading countless commentaries and studies about the decisions of both the Florida and the United States Supreme Courts, Wells highlights how the rule of law prevailed in the midst of one of the country’s most controversial elections in recent history.

Charley Wells, retired Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Court, where he served from 1994 to 2009, is now an attorney with the firm of GrayRobinson in Orlando.

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"Reading Wells' account of those 36 days, even the most detached reader will think, you just can't make this stuff up." Tallahassee Democrat

"Wells tells his story and shares his views, feelings and observations about this unique period in the world’s history, as only someone with his intimate knowledge can...This controversial election will not be forgotten; and anyone who wants an insider’s view of why and how it was resolved will find Wells’ book a compelling, straightforward account of the process that resulted in this historic decision." Tampa Bay Magazine

“A 160-page play-by-play account of the court room battles born of the botched election.” The Florida Current

“[This] spellbinding book shows the remarkable human side of the Bush v. Gore saga. But more importantly, it captures an essential chapter of Florida history and presents a new and different look at one of the most well-known legal disputes of all time.” Florida Law Review

“A lucid account of an unusually involved legal and political situation” Tallahassee Writers Association

"Revisits the twists and turns of the 36-day legal standoff" The American Lawyer

Vividly conveys the escalating pressure that he and his fellow justices experienced as they struggled with the issues raised by the post-election litigation… is a valuable addition, both readable and informative, to the existing popular, legal, and historical literature on Bush v. Gore.-- Florida Historical Quarterly

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